(Economist) Europe is “on the edge of a precipice”, says France’s president. Is he right?
Today’s europe owes its existence to the United States. America fought two world wars on European soil; American diplomacy was midwife to what became the European Union; American arms protected western Europe from Soviet invasion; and American statesmen oversaw German unification. Now, in a dramatic plea to all Europeans, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has warned that America is cutting Europe loose. The old continent is “on the edge of a precipice”, he warns. Unless it wakes up, “we will no longer be in control of our destiny.”
In his Elysée Palace office, Mr Macron spoke to The Economist in apocalyptic terms (see article). nato, the transatlantic alliance, is suffering from “brain-death”, he says; Europe needs to develop a military force of its own. The eu thinks of itself as just a market, but it needs to act as a political bloc, with policies on technology, data and climate change to match. Past French presidents have argued that Europe cannot rely on America, and should look to France instead. Mr Macron is not just rehashing this view. He believes that America and Europe have shared interests and has worked tirelessly to keep good relations with President Donald Trump. But he argues that for the first time America has a president who “does not share our idea of the European project”. And even if Mr Trump is not re-elected, historical forces are pulling the old allies apart.